Monday, February 7, 2011

British amputee finds an acting career, appearing in "The King's Speech," Army simulation exercises

From BBC News:

Jeff Dormer (pictured) might not be a household name, but if you have seen The King's Speech you may well have spotted him.

The multi-Oscar nominated film is the latest to feature the Suffolk man who worked as a refuse collection driver before losing both of his legs in a road accident.

He is now represented by Amputees in Action, which provides actors for TV and the movies as well as for simulation exercises for the army.

"I specialise in the casualty simulation side," said Mr Dormer, who lives near Newmarket.

"The aim is to help the guys that are training as medics, to get them up to scratch and help them prepare for what they're likely to see in Afghanistan or on the battlefield.

"We simulate explosions, traffic road accidents, that kind of thing and to make it as real as possible to help desensitise them.

"It's quite varied what you have to act. The trainee medics are quite often shocked - they're not used to seeing something so graphic.

"They're used to practising on other squaddies, who are usually perfectly able-bodied and are pretending to have lost a limb.

"When they actually see us, with blood squirting etc, sometimes they get quite faint, sometimes they get on and deal with it."

Mr Dormer appeared as a war veteran in The King's Speech.

It was film that lead to the Amputees in Action group forming. Several of the actors found themselves on the sets of Saving Private Ryan and Gladiator and realised the role a unified group could play.

Mr Dormer has also recently appeared in a film for the Pride of Britain Awards, but it is the work with the troops that he speaks most passionately about.

"It's to help them perform better when they are in such a situation for real," he said.

"The feedback from troops is that they're really appreciative and we get a great sense of pride in that we're helping to save a few lives."